Uefa have condemned the behaviour of fans involved in three days of violence in Marseille ahead of England’s opening Euro 2016 match against Russia, but have confirmed that they cannot punish teams for anything that happens outside “the stadium perimeter”.
It means that neither England nor Russia will face action for the violent scenes witnessed in Marseille’s old port area, where fighting and attacks have taken place since supporters started arriving on Thursday. However, after Russian fans appeared to charge their English counterparts at the full-time whistle at the Stade Velodrome, the Independent understands that Uefa will launch an investigation into the events that tarnished what was a well mannered and behaved match.
It was widely reported that England fans were provoked by French locals on Thursday, with bottles being thrown at groups of English fans gathered outside three separate pubs in the city. However, England fans appeared to be to blame for the violence that unfolded on Friday, with French police provoked into firing tear gas at groups of English fans that were behaving anti-socially under the influence of alcohol.
The worst was to come on Saturday when, as British police had feared, large gangs of Russian supporters attacked England fans as well as French locals hours before the game, leaving dozens injured and British citizen in a “critical condition” after suffering a cardiac arrest while being beaten, according to local reports.
Uefa released a statement before England kicked-off their Group B match against Russia at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome to condemn the actions, but to also confirm that they are unable to discipline any side whose fans fail to act in an appropriate manner.
"Uefa firmly condemns the incidents in Marseille,” the statement from the tournament organisers read. “People engaging in such violent acts have no place in football.”
“Uefa can only take disciplinary action for incidents which happen within the stadium perimeter.”
Uefa’s inability to take action comes as a result of Article 6 of the tournament regulations, which states that national "associations are responsible for the behaviour of their players, officials, members, supporters and any person carrying out a function at a match on their behalf."
It means that should any of the unsavoury scenes witnessed in the old port transfer to the Stade Velodrome, then both England and Russia would be at risk of sanction later in the tournament.
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